Childhood Dream Jobs Become Real Only Sometimes

In America, boys want to grow up to be athletes and girls want to be teachers. In the rest of the world, they mostly want to be scientists or doctors or engineers.

Most abandon those youthful dreams as they get older, says LinkedIn. The company surveyed some 8,000 of its 187 million members, asking them about their early career dreams and how they compared to the job they now have. Only 30 percent went on to become what they dreamed about as a child or at least work in a closely related field.

What happened to those early dreams? The professionals working in other jobs were most likely — by 44 percent — to explain,  “As I got older, I became interested in a different career path.”

Fulfilling their childhood hopes, especially for those U.S. boys dreaming of becoming the next Kobe Bryant or Eli Manning, paled as they realized that taking pleasure in work was more important. At least that’s what 70 percent of the respondents said.

Those percentages hold true across the global, LinkedIn said. However, top dream jobs do not. In India, the No. 1 dream job is engineer. While 8 percent of girls there wanted to become engineers, compared to 19 percent of the boys, girls ranked teacher as their #1 dream job. Only 5.7 percent of the boys in India dreamed of becoming teachers.

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In the U.S., teacher didn’t make the top five list for boys.

Engineer also ranked #1 in a number of other countries, including Brazil, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates. In Hong Kong and Germany, scientist came out on top. In Australia, Austria, and France, the grown-ups once dreamed of becoming aviators.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


2 Comments on “Childhood Dream Jobs Become Real Only Sometimes

  1. I’m not surprised that Australian boys want to become aviators. My own little Australian boy is already telling me he wants to be a pilot and he’s only 3!

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